Tony Massarotti has got takes, y'all. They're very rarely good takes, but the quality of them isn't the point: he just wants people to read, and the easiest way to do so is to make loud noises, whether it's in Boston's market or now for CBS Sports. At least Dan Shaughnessy had the ability and foresight to create this character class in the Boston media -- sometimes it doesn't feel like Massarotti is playing at anything, which either means he's on some next-level shit or is just a straight-up waste of your time.
Just in case it's the last, let me take you through his latest -- entitled "Baseball's New Sissy Slide Rule" -- so you don't have to do so yourself. This is the opening paragraph, word-for-word, on Massarotti's feelings on Jose Bautista's slide from Tuesday night, which was deemed illegal. And no, I won't be linking the full piece. You know how Google works if you want to subject yourself to it.
I said it before, I’ll say it now and I’ll say it forever: baseball’s new rule regarding slides at second base was and is a childish overreaction. It’s yet another example of the wussification of America and what was, once, our national pastime.
A very adult reaction, though, is to discuss how a slide that was illegal in baseball even before the so-called "Chase Utley rule" was put into place this offseason is bringing on the downfall of America.
No, really: all the Utley Rule did was allow umpires to be able to review the slide that Bautista made, one in which he grabbed at the infielder's legs to attempt to disrupt his throw and the double play. As said, the kind of slide that was already illegal, maybe even when Massaroti still believed America and baseball were on the rise:
If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead
Even Donald Trump isn't trying to score points with the Utley Rule, Tony. Give it a rest.
Spoiler: he cannot give it a rest.
Here’s the biggest problem with professional sports these days: from football to hockey to baseball, league decision-makers are acting as if they fear a lawsuit from an angry parent. Maybe this has some merit in the NFL, especially, where the ever-increasing knowledge about head trauma is downright terrifying. But baseball? It’s almost solely the result of injuries to San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, who was hurt in the 12th inning of a late May 2011 game against the then Florida Marlins, and New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada, who was wiped out in the divisional playoff last season.
How many broken legs are too many before a rule should be changed? It's unclear from the article, but the answer is apparently more than two. "Trying to avoid injuries" is interpreted as "trying to avoid lawsuits," which, come on, if you're trying to be realistically cynical about it, at least say that baseball is just trying to protect their investments instead of actually caring about the health of their players for non-selfish reasons. Which, by the way, is just one reason you know the Pirates would be very upset if someone took Cervelli down. They love that guy, and also need him.
Also, Tony, it's the Alex Avila rule if it's anything, but you probably didn't mention him because he went against your premise.
Massarotti says that, "Obviously, no one wants to see any player get hurt. Unfortunately, it’s part of sports." Baseball is literally trying to make it not be part of sports, and you have a problem with it, you hack. Sports with fewer injuries would be pretty cool, imo. Massarotti, though, says no one would have cared if Francisco Cervelli were injured instead of Buster Posey, and lets Scott Cousins off the hook by saying he was "merely trying to win a game."
For more in "Making excuses in the name of championships" I refer you to:
As for Tejada’s injury, Chase Utley’s slide was indisputably late. But it was the playoffs. It was October, the time of year when identities are made and championships are won… when legacies are forged.
Yeah, Chase Utley's identity was forged. Now everyone knows he's an asshole on the basepaths who will break an opponent's leg to break up a double play if he has to. What an inspiring dude! I hope my kids can be just like him so American can be great again.
Here's the real kicker, though. This is how Massarotti decided to end his column the same day everyone is after John Gibbons for saying the Blue Jays should show up to Wednesday's game wearing dresses since Bautista's slide was overturned.
Well, if you like what they’ve done to baseball in recent years, you probably like figure skating, too.
Baseball doesn't need slides that can injure its players, and it sure as hell doesn't need Tony Massarotti covering it. At least we've managed to solve one of those problems already.